My Wishlist

Runner-Up Best Overall Blog of 2005!

I'm a down to earth girl who loves to laugh at others...I mean make others laugh.
View my complete profile
Blogroll Me!   Review My Site   Site Feed MySpace Profile Facebook Profile   Friendster Profile

Enter your email address below to subscribe to The Art of Getting By and get new posts delivered to your in-box daily!

powered by Bloglet
Subscribe with Bloglines


"This is the most exciting day of my life...and I was pulled on stage once to dance at a Bruce Springsteen concert."
30 Rock


Image Hosted by

This blog has been chosen
as a 2005 BEST



Wednesday, August 31, 2005

It's All the Same; Only the Names Will Change

First and foremost, I'd like to thank all the guest bloggers who've offered their services in my time of need, AKA the month of September. If you still haven't submitted you still have time. If you still want to submit and just haven't contacted me yet, you can do that, too.

My first guest post comes to you courtesy of the always interesting, MCF, Enjoy!

I don't know anyone who enjoys tuning in to his or her favorite program, only to find it has been interrupted for a special news bulletin, preempted by another program, or that some sporting event ran into overtime.

It seems especially frequent in the Summer that the Sunday TV listings
won't match what's actually on by the middle of the week. I've lost count of
how many times I thought I was taping The Inside only to later find half of So You Think You Can Dance and a Bernie Mac Show. Many of Janet's regular readers may now be wondering, "This is not my regularly scheduled blog. This is not my beautiful hostess. MCF? How did he get here??" Guest-blogging was a task I approached with caution. You normally read the wit and wisdom of a teacher whose slogan includes the phrase, "I find most people to be disappointing".

I've spent YEARS of my life disappointing teachers. Nevertheless, I decided to take a stab at writing a guest post.Once I decided to write something, my next challenge was determining what that something would be. I could write about New Jersey, but would my thoughts on Kevin Smith or Bon Jovi do either the state or this site justice? It's interesting that a director and a musician are the first things that come to mind, especially when the musician is no stranger to acting as well. The only film I've seen Jon Bon Jovi in was the powerful
Pay It Forward, but he seems to have a few more acting credits under his belt as well, including a starring role in the upcoming National Lampoon's The Trouble With Frank. With David Faustino working again, I know that's going to be good.

Of course, Bon Jovi isn't the first singer to make the transition to Hollywood. Maybe Elvis started the trend, although the snippets of his movies I've seen over the years always seemed to be him singing the song for which the film itself was named. Hoboken's own Frank Sinatra and his Rat Pack made their share of movies. As the original Danny Ocean, Old Blue-Eyes starred alongside legends like The Joker and
Mr. Roper. While the origins of such career shifts can be traced as far back as the '40s, I first noticed it much later, in the 1992 film Singles. Both the movie and the soundtrack prominently featured nearly every grunge band I was into at the time. I thrilled to see Eddie Vedder and the rest of my favorites in Pearl Jam spoof themselves as a struggling group known as "Citizen Dick", and
Alice in Chains performs an amazing rendition of their song "Would".

Singles FEATURED musicians, many if not all of whom portrayed themselves. I recently watched the film Constantine, and though I didn't realize it until I was listening to the commentary,
Gavin Rossdale had a somewhat prominent role as one of the villains of the piece. He looked really familiar the whole time, but I didn't place him as Bush's lead singer. I was certain he was some character actor I'd seen in another film, but since he only has four or five films to his credit, that's not the case. I can't think of many modern singers who've made a lot of movies. Hook is the only one of Phil Collins'
films that I've seen. And I'd be remiss not to mention Courtney
who stretched her abilities to play an anorexic and promiscuous drug
addict leeching off her husband in The People Vs. Larry Flynt.

Probably the two biggest stars to make the leap from stage to screen are Mark Wahlberg and Will Smith. They've earned the right to not be called "Marky Mark" and the "Fresh Prince" with their work on the big screen, especially Smith. A few weeks ago I watched the vastly underrated Jersey Girl,
in which Ben Affleck's character makes the tragic mistake of underestimating just how big a star Will Smith will become, at a time when his movie career is just starting out. Somehow, I've brought things full circle to Kevin Smith after all. Incidentally, the movie also includes Jennifer Lopez, yet another multitalented star. I'm sure there are probably other actors and actresses who traded music careers for acting careers. Sinatra sings, then acts. Rossdale sings, then acts. It's the same story with different names. As for me, I'm going to rest now and dream about movies they won't make of me when I'm dead.

I'd like to thank Janet for this opportunity to guest post on her site, and I'd like to thank any readers who read this far. Peace.
Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Tell It To Me Tuesday "I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here"

Last week I asked you what you thought the worst possible job in the world would be. This week, I'm turning the tables. What is your dream job and why do you think it would be so perfect?
Monday, August 29, 2005

Time To Make The Doughnuts

The worst thing about going back to school is the getting up and going back to school. I mean I'm cool with going to the school a zillion times to setup. I can even deal with the dreaded lesson planning. But the worst of the worst is getting yourself back into the routine of getting up early, especially when you've had a summer of the exact opposite.

I never was a morning person. I've always been a late owl. So much so that one semester at college I actually had classes on Tuesday and Thursday that didn't start till 12:30. I consider it just another way college DIDN'T prepare you for the real world. It was heaven.

The weird thing is that eventhough I complain about getting up early, I'm actually very good at it. I've never been a snooze user or abuser. I get up as soon as my alarm goes off and once I have some coffee into me, I'm good to go.

Still there is just something about getting up and feeling the pressure of having to be somewhere by a certain time so early. That and the whole clock changing scenario. I hate waking up when it's still dark out. It just seems so wrong, not to mention, depressing.

In order to get myself psyched to get back in the routine, I've been slowly easing in to it. Two weeks ago I got up at 8:30. Last week I'm getting up at 7:45. This week I'm getting up at 7:00, well at least until Thursday when I have my first in service and I have to get up even earlier. I like to get to school earlier rather than later. For instance, last year I woke up at 5:45 eventhough school didn't start until 8:35. I figured it's a great way to beat some traffic and get in get going. Sometimes this worked. Other times people had the same exact idea. Who are these people anyway?

Another way I've been trying to beat the school at its own game is by getting ahead this year. I do not want to face the insanity of last year when I had nothing and knew nothing. Now I know better. This is why I've been in to school so often over the last few weeks. This is also why I laminated everything I could get my hands and yes I do mean everything. I even went and labeled things with the kids names although given the revolving door I had last year, nothing is certain in that department. I have noticed, however, after looking at the exotic class roster that I am completely and utterly convinced these children's parents are the same people who give those poor Cabbage Patch Kids their random names.

In the midst of all of this, I even managed to help two of my friends who just got their first teaching jobs setup their rooms. It's amazing what a year can do actually. I think next year I might start a service cause as soon as I walked in, it was like something else took over. I went all Queer Eye on those classrooms. Believe it.

I know what y'all are thinking. So you start at 8:35, you get 45 minutes for lunch, 45 minutes for prep and you're out by 3. Oh poor baby. Well let me tell you something. The early morning wakeup calls aren't the only rude awakening. You need those two sets of 45 minutes during the day like you wouldn't believe. And sometimes even with them you don't get a chance to do things you might take for granted like saying peeing or eating. No it all depends on what the day has in store for you.

Oh and your day rarely, if ever, ends at 3. Even if you are somehow lucky enough to leave the building by then, more than likely you will be leaving only to take work home with you. Yes, these are just some of the joys of being an elementary school teacher.

One thing I have learned after talking to much more seasoned teachers is that the first day jitters never go away, no matter what side of the desk you are on. Last year my class was crazy, but for every "problem" child, I had a little angel in my class, waiting in the wings, keeping me sane. I wonder, what if I don't have those angels this year? Just the "problems"? I guess time will tell. These kids will no doubt be nervous when they meet me for the first time. Now if they only knew I felt the exact same way about them.
Friday, August 26, 2005

I Call Myself A Writer, But I Never Get Paid

The title of this post was inspired one of my all time favorite musicians, Jude Cole (bowing my head in a brief moment of silence). It's a lyric from one of his many great songs, "Just Another Night" and incidentally, a great way to sum up my feelings about what I'm about to write.

There are many reasons people blog. Some people blog out of boredom. Some out of frustration. Others out of a combination of the two and so on and so forth. Only you know what category you fall into. Me, I think I've fallen under all of them at some time or another, but for the most part, I categorize myself as the "wanna be writer blogger".

For those of you who are "wanna be writer bloggers" like me, you understand that this alone breeds frustration blogging at times. In some ways, blogging is great for wanna be writers. It offers you the freedom to write about what you want to write about WHEN you want to write about it. But what it doesn't offer, however, is any monetary means of success, at least not unless you are one of the precious few who are lucky enough to be plucked from obscurity, that is.

Regardless of which group you fall into, more than likely the majority of the "real life" people in your day to day life don't get blogging. Some of them have no idea what it is know what it is, so you don't even bother mentioning it. Then there are those that in a word, get it, but don't really respect it.

When people ask me what I do, I tell them that I am a teacher, but I also tell them that I am a writer. When they ask me what I write I can point them to many links on the web and even a few published pieces here and there. But when I say "Well for the most part, I blog," this is usually welcomed by dead, uncomfortable silence. This is because these people either have no idea what it is I'm talking about, or they do and they just don't see how that constitutes being a writer.

Let's face it. Blogging is passe these days. Everyone and their mother (not MY mother) does it. So to set yourself apart from other bloggers as a "serious artist" is a hard, if not impossible feat. When you say the word writer people think of the likes of Stephen King, or even (ugh) Danielle Steel. Yet there are very many writers out there that write brilliant stuff, that the majority of the world does not know about. I'm not being as bold as to say I'm one of these people, I'm just putting it out there.

I remember the first time I expressed interest in becoming a writer to my family. If only I were gay, considering I might as well have come out with the reaction I got. When I was a kid, writing took shape in the form of dreamy poems and song lyrics. At the time I was obsessed with soap operas and remember telling my mom that I wanted to be a soap opera writer someday. Her reaction was akin to one you might witness after watching a parent look at their 5 year old's fingerpainting. They're amused, but not impressed.

As I got older, thankfully my interests towards soap operas waned, and along with it the strong desire to write poetry and song lyrics. Instead a more introspective writing took its place. Creative writing classes in school kept my dreams afloat, along with the many encouraging words of my peers and teachers. I never knew what I was good at, but my whole life people told me I was meant to be a writer, so I figured I must be on to something, so I'll just roll with it.

So when it came time to apply to colleges, I decided to major in English. I can still remember my dad saying, "So you're going to teach?" At this point, however, I wasn't so sure. It was like the big elephant in the room. He knew I wanted to write but more than anything, he wanted me to be practical. All of the accolades in the world wouldn't amount to anything to him. Writing is something anyone can do and very few can do well and frankly for as much as I love my parents and their good intentions, I don't think he thought I was one of them.

Early in my college career I realized studying the likes of Shakespeare and other classic, yet stuffy writers was not where my heart was. So, upon encouragement of an interested professor, I made the switch to Communications with a concentration in Public Relations/Advertising. Everyone knew that I *could* make a living at this, even if it wasn't as secure as a profession like teaching, so the switch was made.

But soon in to that profession I realized that while I liked writing, PR wasn't exactly the right fit either. PR writing and news reporting to me, didn't leave much room for personality in writing and to me, this took all the fun out of writing, period. So here I was, taking a profession that was already hard enough to make a living at and I ended up making it even harder on myself.

After graduating I worked some dead end jobs, all of which I've blogged about before. But the one constant that I always came back to was the writing. In my early twenties I still had visions that I could "make it" and I sought refuge in the emerging world known as the Internet. I was lucky enough to achieve the goal of establishing myself (somewhat) in the world wide web, although I was still overwhelmingly anonymous and penniless.

This blog has been great for writers like me because it allows me the opportunity to write what I want, when I want, just like I always wanted. But what makes it really worthwhile are the comments. I'm not gonna lie it feels good sometimes to think some of you like me, you really like me. It rebuilds confidence that has been torn down as the dreams of once "making it" with my writing seem to get farther and farther out of reach.

But now I'm at a crossroads. I am fueled by the comments and the emails where people who don't have to amuse me tell me that I'm good. I am flattered when someone thinks enough of ths blog to contact me out of the blue to let me know. I am amazed when people are "honored" that I wrote them back. After all, I'm still just Janet from the block, sans the bling bling.

And now I don't know where to go to next. This blog is still here and not going anywhere, but then again, neither is my career. Don't get me wrong. I love teaching and it has filled a creative outlet, but one great thing about teaching is that I can write and teach. But what do you do in order to take it to the next level? What does the next level consist of anyway? Is it crazy to even try? Where do you even begin?

I know millions of people blog and never make it, but that doesn't stop millions of people who play music from calling themselves musicians. If someone never "makes" it does that really make them any less a writer, a musician, a painter, etc?

So this is where I throw it back to you, the precious few who have reminded me that this blog is written by a teacher who happens to write, or a writer who happens to teach. Where does someone like me go from here?
Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The Man, The Myth, The Dressing

I have a confession to make. I heart Paul Newman.

Now I know I'm not alone here. A lot of people love Paul for his piercing blue eyes and his strong, yet vulnerable leading man track record in movies such as Cool Hand Luke and Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid. And I mean don't get me wrong his performances are great...but that's not important now.

No, I'm in love with Mr. Newman for an entirely different reason. I'm in love with him for one reason and one reason only: his salad dressings.

For those of you who have never tried a Newman's Own Salad Dressing let me just be the first to say, "You have no idea what you are missing!" Sure, I haven't tried them all, but I don't have to to know that that Newman kicks ass and takes names with spices as much, if not more than he ever did with screen chemistry. If there was ever a man who could successfully mix oil and vinegar, Newman would be it.

Although Newman's Own has been around a short while, he apparently started making and giving it out back in the early eighties. I can just picture it now: Cut to scene, Paul Newman, headed to Steven Spielberg's house for Chanukah. Robin Williams shows up with a bottle of kosher wine, again, but Newman, he dares to be different, showing up with a homemade, red wine and vinegar that has the likes of Jo Beth Williams and Debra Winger singing his praises in no time.

And the rest, they say, was history.

Launching a successful chain of dressings might be tricky if you were just a kooky novice who liked to "experiment" in the basement. But if you're a kooky novice named Paul Newman, the garlic and herbs practically come to you, as does the revenue. Just think about it: How many people have probably purchased a Newman's Own product over the years just because they saw the man himself endorsed it? It's a no brainer. Attach a big name to a project and you'll have big money.

While we're on the topic of big money, let me just tell you another great reason to make Newman's Own, your own: Newman's Own (the company) has given over $150 million to charities since 1982. Infact, according to his website, "Paul Newman, as sole owner of Newman's Own®, donates all his profits and royalties after taxes for educational and charitable purposes." Why? Because he's Paul freakin' Newman that's why and quite frankly, he can! Sure a lot of celebrities talk about giving back but do they ever really? One never knows. But with Newman, he puts his money where his mouth is, literally.

As if their kick ass dressings weren't enough, they now also make a variety of products including pasta sauce, steak sauce, popcorn, salsa, lemonade and fruit juice cocktail. Hell, if you play your cards right you can have a whole Newman themed party, complete with food AND entertainment. I don't know about you, but I don't know many people who you can enjoy in more ways than one AT the same time.

For that reason alone, Newman is both a man and a marinade to be reckoned with.
Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Tell It To Me Tuesday: "Take This Job And Shove It"

There are plenty of God awful jobs in this world. Hell, some of you might even think you work one of them.

But what I'm talking about are the worst of the worst. So, what do you think the worst job of all time would be and why?
Monday, August 22, 2005

Don't Go There

I'm still looking for guest bloggers for September for AOGB. Remember, there are no rules! You can blog about almost anything. Also, if time constraints are an issue, have no fear. You can submit a post that you've already written that you simply want to share with a different audience. The whole point in this is to help your blog too, since y'all will be helping me.:)
If you need any clarification or are simply DYING to be included, do not hesitate to contact me at

This one time I blogged about my recent fascination with the cat. Not a tomcat or an overgrown, jungle cat like a cheetah or a lion. No, just your run of the mill, everyday house cat, it's own little wonder of the world.

So in that respect, you might as well consider this post a piggyback to my last one as cats continue to intrigue me. I knew a cat that lived in a small, one bedroom apartment for about six months and just like a good little cat, she used her litterbox when she needed to relieve herself, so to speak. Incidentally, I don't know what it is about watching a cat poop that is so cute. Babies and cats get away with shit like that. Nobody or nothing else though, never.

I think cats are fun to watch when they poop because they have this whole burial ceremony each and every time. It's almost as if they are admitting that their shit stank, and they are trying their best to not be offensive to those around them. I don't know about you, but I think that's pretty damn upstanding.

But then you take this cat out of the apartment and you put her in a house and all the rules changed. Now the cat used the litterbox, when she wanted to. In addition, she decided to "christen" the newly carpeted, yet to be furnished second bedroom of the house. Now I don't know why this is. Perhaps cats are just more territorial than we all realized and maybe she's like one of those new cast members when they first arrive at the house on Real World, claiming a bedroom to call her own. Or maybe, just maybe, the grey carpeting reminded he of her litterbox and since said room isn't furnished yet, she actually thought it was a huge litterbox built in her honor. After all, cats are nothing if not egocentric.

Yet, stopping a cat from shitting where you don't want them to is about as possible as stopping Joan Rivers from being annoying. In other words, short of some sort of miracle, it's not gonna happen anytime soon. In the meantime, however, the cat smell is now in the new carpet, which only served to draw the cat to the room (even if the door is closed) all the more.

But this is not where the strangeness stops. This particular cat also has a vested interest in your time in the people's bathroom. You don't even have to be using the facilities. All you need is to have the door open a crack and my my, look what the cat dragged in...herself.

Each and every time the cat came in the bathroom though she insisted on jumping up and sitting on the windowsill. This wouldn't be so strange if you found her there when you went in but no, she only went there after you entered the bathroom. Downstairs the transition from floor to windowsill ain't that bad because she had a toilet tank as an in between point. But upstairs? She had to make a huge leap, always hitting herself in the process. I don't care what you say about cats, that's gotta hurt.

Finally there's the mystery of the cat and the plastic bag. I don't know about the cats you know, but this cat hated plastic bags to the point where I'm beginnning to think there must be some truth to past lives considering I can't think of anything traumatic that has happened to the cat in this life to warrant such behavior. All it takes is the rustle of one for the cat to practically have convulsions, running around in circles, sometimes into walls, all in an effort to avoid the big, bad...bag.

As usual, I don't know why this is. It could be nothing. Or it could just be that cats were smarter than we ever realized. That, and there is some truth to the saying, the cat's out of the bag.
Friday, August 19, 2005

Diamonds Dollar Stores Are A Girl's Teacher's Best Friends

Many times I get the question or variations on the question, "How do teachers do it?"

The answer, at least in part, is simple.

If there were say and Oscars for teachers and they finally got the credit that was due to them, an acceptance speech would go something like this:

"I'd like to thank my family for putting up with me asking them to make various photocopies on their company's dimes. I'd also like to thank the little people, literally because I work with eight year olds every day. Without them my job would have not been possible. And last, but certainly not least, I'd like to thank the dollar stores of America who make an underpaid profession a little bit brighter, just by being there with a selection and a smile."

Many of you have probably already discovered the wonder known as dollar stores. Some are only so-so, but just like with men, when you find a good one, you hold on to it for dear life. Good dollar stores can truly be a one stop shopping scenario, if you play your cards right. In fact, you can get playing cards there too. See how perfectly this works out?

Say you just bought a home and want to get odds and ends like salt & pepper shakers, tupperware containers and cleaning supplies. All this and more is at your disposal at dollar stores across the country.

And the satisfaction doesn't stop there. If you are on your way to your husband's friend's co-workers baby shower and haven't had the time to buy anything? It's ok. Dollar stores can provide you with cute little picture frames, bibs, cards, bags and balloons.

There are only two things about dollar stores that creep me out a little bit. This is the sale of food and religious items. But first I'll start with the food. Picking up candy and a bag of chips from the dollar store? Aces. Feeding a family of four for a week off their "frozen food" selection? Not so much. See usually dollar stores are great because they get their merchandise from discontinued or surplus vendors across the country. I don't know about you, but I'm not down with a 5 minute, make your own tuna package, no matter how great a deal.

Then there is the mysterious selling of all things religious. Why this disturbs me so is really a two fold theory: I can't tell if no one is buying these items and THAT's how dollar stores get 'em, or if they're just targeting the religious lot and apparently, many of them frequent dollar stores well, frequently. I have seen everything from Jesus nightlights to Bible stories for kids. I've never seen people actually buy any of it, but just like fruitcake, there must be a market for it somehow, somewhere.

Yes, dollar stores are great for everyone, but now I'm going to tell you why dollar stores are even better for teachers. For starters, there's the toy selection. In my classroom, I have this thing called a treasure chest. Really all it is a box filled with cheap stuff that eight year olds go ga ga for. I have a traffic light system in my room. Every child's name is written on a clothespin and attached to the traffic light. If you're good all day, you stay in green. If you break a rule, you get a warning. Break another rule, you go to yellow. Break a few rules, you're in red. A note goes home, phone calls are made yadda, yadda.

Anyway, at the end of the month, I tally up those green days and depending on how many you get this determines the size prize you receive (if any). Now dollar stores are great because they have all size prizes, for a one size fits all price. They even have educational prizes like multiplication flash cards and books to read which incidentally, are my favorite type of prizes because the kids are gaining a gift, but I'm "fooling" them into learning in the process.

Another reason dollar stores are so fab for teachers is there candy selection, which is very different in my book, from the food selection. Candy is a staple in my classroom. Everyday a child is in green they have a choice between a piece of candy or a sticker. And with candy, it's nearly all sugar and for the most part, tootsie rolls just don't go bad. Plus you can test it out. If you plunk a bag o' candy down in your cart and it makes a loud noise, chances are the freshness seal has worn off on that particular package. No worries. There's plenty more where that came from.

Last, but certainly not least, dollar stores are full of seasonal items and random goodness. I need to make back to school goodie bags. I need bulletin board border. I want Christmas window clings. I want extra worksheets for my students. I found an adorable "teachers touch children's lives" feel me, you're picking up what I'm putting down. All of it and more is there for the taking.

But perhaps the greatest trick all dollar stores pull is the cost itself. Hear me now, believe it later. You will never buy more stuff that you don't really need then when you are at a dollar store. Even if you are were at say Target and saw the same exact item for $1.25, you most likely would hold off. But you enter a dollar store and suddenly you find yourself saying, "Well it is only a dollar..." The irony here being that if you had just gone to Target for that one item and paid the $1.25 you would have your item and be on your merry way. Instead you decided to go digging at the dollar store and 45 dollars later, you are impressed with all the great "deals" you found. For that power alone I salute you, dollar stores of America.

Sure, sure some of the selection is tacky, but just like a diamond in the rough, if you search hard enough, U2 will manage to finally find what you're looking for.
Thursday, August 18, 2005

Here Comes The Man Known As Black

In the past I have eluded to brief conversations I had with the man, the myth, the legend,Michael Ian Black. Last week I was looking for something on my computer when I found the transcript of our original correspondence. Imagine my pleasant surprise considering I didn't even remember saving it. I figured some of you might get a kick out of reading it as a twist on me just talking about him incessantly, like I often tend to do. So without further adieu, I present to you A Conversation With Michael Ian Black...

Date: July 14, 2003 3:23 PM

Subject: hey...don't I know you?

Message: I was sifting through this apparent bottomless pit of "friends in waiting" when I came across a face I recognized, though technically, did not

That person was you.

I thought about how not to be cliche and state the obvious (love your work, yadda yadda) but then I thought to hell with it.

If you feel like venturing outside the safe haven otherwise known as your personal network, drop me a line.


Date: July 15, 2003 4:35 AM

Subject: Re: hey...don't I know you?

Message: Hi Janet,

It is with extreme trepidation that I step outside the safe haven that is my personal network to respond to your letter. (I'm kidding) What's the point of joining Friendster if you only talk to the same people you talk to all the time? None, that's what.

Thanks for the kind words.

I noticed you're a writer. What kind of writing do you do?

Also, you said that most people disappoint you. This is a very dismal outlook you maintain, Janet. Perhaps the problem is that your expectations are too high. If you just expect to meet miscreants and jerk-offs, you mostly will, and you won't be disappointed. Then, when somebody you like comes along, you'll be all the more thrilled. People almost never disappoint me, since I'm just a jerk-off myself, I can easily relate to them.

Feel free to write whenever,

Date: July 15, 2003 3:06 PM

Subject: Re: hey...don't I know you?

Message: Hey Michael,

I'm glad you wrote back. So far you are the only one who has responded to my cry for new friends, so I'm guessing our whole attitude towards meeting new people puts us in the minority...jk

A lot of meaning gets lost in email and messaging because you can't always tell how a person is saying something, especially if you don't know how they talk to begin with.

So you know ahead of time, I tend to be fairly sarcastic. Some people get it, some just get offended. In fact, the fact that sarcasm even has to be explained frustrates me, but I'm putting it out there anyway.

I will never mention it again.

Yes I am a writer, but as a great underrated musician, Jude Cole, once said, "I call myself a writer, but I never get paid." When I do write, I dabble mostly in pop culture pieces such as music and movie reviews. I toyed with the idea of being a music journalist for awhile, but didn't have the cutthroat personality to go along with it. So, with that in mind, I went back to school for another degree in Education. It's a good trade off though because this way, I get the best of both worlds since I can still write AND teach. But enough about me. What do you do with your days, if you don't mind me asking? I've always been rather curious what an actor etc. does when they are not working on something.

As for people disappointing me, I'm afraid this was only a partial jest. There is a lot of truth in humor after all. What can I say? I meet some crappy people.


Date: July 16, 2003 5:14 AM

Subject: Re: hey...don't I know you?



To answer your question, actors do lots of stuff in their free time. In fact, one of the reason to become an actor is to have lots of free time because most of us are unemployed.

As for me, my free time is spent trying to figure out what the hell I'm going to do with myself when my current job goes away. You'd be surprised how much time you can fill obsessing about things you cannot control. Or maybe you wouldn't be surprised. Probably a lot of people do that.


Date: July 17, 2003 1:59 PM

Subject: passing time

Message: Michael,

I agree that it seems a major perk of being an actor must be the free time you get. I took an acting course in college, but never had the guts to go into it professionally. Instead I just watch a lot of tv. I'm kinda like an actress by
association. I really know way too much about people I don't really know. But don't worry. I don't mean in a stalker type way.

I also think it's pretty common to obsess. Or at least it is in my world. I always worry what my next move will be. Right now I'd just be happy to have it be out of my parents house.

I see you once lived in NJ. How long were you here and were you thrilled to get out?


Date: July 21, 2003 7:24 AM

Subject: Re: passing time

Message: Hi,

Sorry it took me a few days to write back. To answer your question, I grew up in Hillsborough, NJ, which is not a terrible place, but was definitely not for me. I was pretty thrilled to get out, but that would have been true for me no matter where I grew up - I just wanted to get out of the house, a problem I see you're still facing.


I realize the conversation drops off abruptly here. Most likely he stopped writing, though I can't recall the details. I assume there's only so long you can amuse the masses (i.e. me) though.

Some of you might wonder if I contacted him once and he was cool, why not contact him again? Well, recently, I did search for MIB on Friendster. While his profile is still up there, he hasn't logged on since December of 2003. Also, Friendster is much more a corporate conglomerate than it used to be, so I don't even say a way to email him like there used to be. I'm afraid I just don't know the secret password.

So this is where the story ends, at least for now. But the posts about MIB? Man, they'll never die.
Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Why Do Birds Suddenly Appear?

Birds are funny animals. They relocate at the drop of a hat. They shit wherever they want to. Hell, some of them even talk like people which manages to both intrigue me and freak me out at the same time.

But in the past few years I've noticed a growing epidemic among the bird population. I'm opening it up to everyone here because I'm not sure if this is just a Jersey bird thing or not. Then again, even if it was, they're flying somewhere south for winter so in that case, our birds might become your birds, and considering we share them the way divorced parents share their kids, it's all good.

Here's the thing I noticed. Birds have seemingly forgotten how to fly or even more disturbing, they don't want to. Now this is what I can't figure out. Maybe birds are like the rest of the culture, gaining weight and growing more lazy. Perhaps the young birds of today can't live up to the pressure of their elders, not unlike the work ethic of twenty somethings in relation to their parents.

As if this alone wasn't disturbing enough, another, even more frightening thought occured to me. Maybe birds don't want to live anymore. I mean I don't know what to believe. All I know is many, many times I'll be driving and see a bird cross my path. Excuse me, walking across my path. And each and every time I just want to scream:


Does this ever happen to anyone else?

Now I don't know about you, but I do know that if I were like a bird I'd do just what Nelly Furtado said; I'd only fly away. Seriously. How cool would that be? How many humans have wished they could fly? This alone is why we have extreme sports like skydiving, parachuting, bungee jumping and parasailing. We pay hundreds of dollars just to be close to something that birds do everyday of their lives.

Which makes me wonder. What if birds are more like us than we thought? What if this whole time we have been wishing we could fly, birds have been wishing they didn't have to? Maybe they're just daring to be different. And when one bird dares to be different you just know the rest of 'em are gonna follow's the whole birds of a feather flock together schtick and all of that jazz.

As this remains one of the many mysteries of the world I suppose I have to succumb to the fact that for now, I must yield to pedestrians and animals including deer, squirrels and now, yes now, even birds. Maybe one day birds will awaken from their funk and see how crazy they are being, but until that day, keep two hands on the wheel and your eyes, my friend, on the sparrow.
Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Tell It To Me Tuesday: "Come Here Often?"

We've all heard them before. Some of us might have even delivered a line or two. At the very least, they always make for amusing stories.

If you haven't figured it out already, I'm talking about cheesy pick up lines. What's the cheesiest one that you can recall ever hearing? Or, if the shoe fits, what's the cheesiest one you ever delivered? And if you're answering part two, answer me this, did it actually work?:)
Monday, August 15, 2005

I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends

Soon it will be time to put the days of loafing behind me. Infact last week I started going back in to school to start setting up the room eventhough we don't go back for another few weeks. This is because all the deliveries come over the summer and since I was a new teacher last year a new teacher = A LOT of deliveries.

So while the next few weeks will certainly be a flurry of activity as far as setting up is concerned, this is nothing compared to the avalanche of work I'm going to have the first few weeks I go back. Ok, the first few months. Alright, the first seven months. But I'm taking it all in stride. Really. By April, I should be good to go.

Anyway, this is where y'all come in. A few months ago Monty, among other equally brilliant bloggers, proposed a guest blogging scenario. Since this coincided with summer, I contributed to Monty's cause. I'm hoping she, and some of you, will now do the same for me.

I'm hoping to start posting guest posts in either the first or second week of September. How long they will go on all depends on the interest here. Of course I will not be abandoning this blog entirely. I will also be posting. The guest posts will just help ease the transition and help me avoid the sophomore slump at school.

So there you have it. If you are interested in guest blogging for AOGB (that's me) or if have any questions, then contact me at

There's absolutely no pressure to post. Just remember the less guest posting volunteers I get, the less this site will potentially be updated come September. But really you don't have to feel bad about it.

Not at all.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have some boxes to go unpack...
Friday, August 12, 2005

Take Two Of These And Call Me In The Morning

For years I've liked to create my own little celebrity related syndromes. Call me a research doctor for the stars if you will. I notice one actor suffers from it and then find other actors that follow suit.

Condition: RS Syndrome- named after the actor Rick "don't call me Ricky" Schroder.
Characteristics: Defined by a cute child (famous or otherwise) who hits puberty and suddenly loses said cuteness.
Known Suffers: Rick Schroder, Anthony Michael Hall, Tina Majorino, Chad Allen and Mae Whitman, among others.
Treatment: Rick Scroder is a great spokesman for this group as he has been both a cute child, then a suffer of RS, only to return to good looking man territory a few years ago. See also Mark-Paul Gosselaar.

Condition: Reverse RS Syndrome
Characteristics: opposite of RS Syndrome. When a child (famous or otherwise) is not particularly cute, but fares much better after adolesence.
Known Suffers:- Jerry O'Connell, Seth Green, Ben Affleck and Joshua Jackson, among others.
Treatment: Constant monitoring of long term cuteness.

Condition: The Natasha Gregson Wagner Factor
Named after little known actress, Natasha Gregson Wagner.
Characteristics: When the named actor/actress is added or attached to a project, this is also proof that the project will be crap.
Known Sufferers: Natasha Gregson Wagner, Rachael Leigh Cook, Freddie Prinze Jr., among others.
Treatment: Letting said career run its course and/or avoiding their projects at all costs as continued exposure can be damaging to one's celluloid appetite.

Condition: The McDonald- named after character actor, Christopher McDonald
Characteristics:- when you suddenly see an actor, preferably a character actor everywhere, but you just can't remember their name.
Known Sufferers:- Christopher McDonald, David Paymer, Paul Giamatti Jeremy Piven and Philip Seymour Hoffman, among others.
Treatment: These actors usually revel in obscurity for years, even after they've been acknowledged for their talents. Don't cry for these guys though. Most of them are making a really decent living at playing the guy you kinda, sorta know.

Condition: State of Hanks- Named after actor Tom Hanks.
Characteristics: an actor or actress whose demeanor completely changes once their appearance does.
Known Sufferers:- Tom Hanks, John Travolta, Matthew Perry, Kathleen Turner, Nicholas Cage, Katherine Heigl, Jon Favreau, Elvis Presley, Marlon Brando and Chris Penn, among others.
Treatment:- Weight, age, hairstyle and exercise all contribute to the State of Hanks. If any one of these factors changes, so too can the state of said actor.

Condition: A Berkley- named after actress Elizabeth Berkley
Characteristics:- Actress/or actor as the case may be, who changes their image drastically in hopes of bettering their career. Such changes are usually of the "shock value" variety (i.e. posing for Playboy)
Known Sufferers:
Elizabeth Berkley, Jessica Biel, Melissa Joan Hart, Debbie Gibson, Macaulay Culkin and Lindsay Lohan, among others.
Treatment: Usually this one just has to run its course.

I would say don't try this at home, but these diagnoses are over 10 years in the making. And as NBC every so often eloquently says, the More You Know...
Thursday, August 11, 2005

Laughing All The Way to the Bank

As much as I love comedy, I have often been amazed at how few female comediennes there are out there. Out of those few there are even less that are actually funny. If you don't believe me, just Google the words "great female comediennes" and you will see that two, count 'em two links come up.

In my book there's Janeane Garofalo and Ellen DeGeneres at the top of the heap and to prove it, I'm not including a hyperlink for either one of them. Kerri Kenney and Amy Poehler can hold their own, at least in a sketch show sense, while Tina Fey is an extremely talented comedic writer and performer who I'd like, totally love to be. After that there's Rosie who used to be funny, that is before I realized she was actually, infact, evil.

The point is I'm always on the lookout for other funny females. On the radar for years now has been another favorite of mine, Kathy Griffin. Kathy Griffin is great because she constantly teeters between being annoying and keeping it real. She's obnoxious, but refreshingly honest about being obnoxious. She's an attention whore, but she owns it. But perhaps most importantly, she knows her celebrity dirt. Recently a whole format has been created just to prove this fact. It's Kathy's new reality show called Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List.

Kathy's show is all about the hilarity that ensues from being not a B or even a C lister, but a D-lister. Watch how Kathy has to beg for free stuff. See very few celebrities know who she is and even less of those celebrites actually liking her. This and more are just a few of the monkey wrenchs thrown into Kathy's everyday life.

But I'm here to tell you that after watching the show one thing is for sure, being on the "D-List" isn't so bad after all. For one thing, there's her house. In a word it's HUGE. Kathy tries to play this off by setting up premises where she thinks of schemes to get free things done for the house cause apparently after the purchase, she's house poor. But just like Argentina, don't go crying for Kathy Griffin anytime soon. Something tells me that if she can afford her lovely "little" house on the hill that she could also splurge and order a sectional or two, even if they are from the sweet, sweet IKEA.

The other big gimmick Kathy uses is her anonymity. Kathy acts like no one in Hollywood knows who she is. Yet she's asked to emcee random charity events and attend nightly semi-studded galas. And how does she keep current on her supposed "lack" of celebrity related options? Well via her ASSISTANT, of course. Cause every wannabe celebrity who has no money to their name and has yet to arrive has an assistant on the payroll. Hell most people don't have anyone on payroll, period. Yet just check out some of those houses on MTV's Cribs. All it takes is a winning combination of "baby" and "roll out" and you too could have the house of your dreams.

But perhaps the biggest confirmation that Kathy isn't as low rent as she'd like us to believe?

She has a show in the first place.

I know, I know, anyone and their mother can get on TV these days, but not everybody can get a show in their name all about their struggle to make it. Not unless of course, they have already made it, but it's still funny to say otherwise. Just ask Rodney "I Get No Respect" Dangerfield. He called that number a long time before Ms. Griffin...and with a rotary phone. No doubt.
Wednesday, August 10, 2005

More Than A Woman To Me

I'm down with Meredith Brooks. I can be a bitch. I can be a lover. I can be a child. Ok, so I'm not sure I'll ever be a mother. My point is I'm cool with being called a lot of things, but ma'am just isn't one of them.

The other day I wrote a post that included the following sentence-

"I like it when people refer to me as a girl and I hate it when people refer to me as ma'am. Ugh."

Later in the day I was chatting with a male friend who happened to read the post. His opening line to me was a dig about the word "ma'am". The reason I feel the need to preface his sex here is because I'm wondering if that is the reason why he asked the question in the first place.He said he didn't understand what the big deal about the word ma'am was and in fact, he had never heard a female complain about it before.

Here's the thing-I was always under the assumption that all females of a certain age felt this way. I say females of a certain age because girls under the age of 18 are highly unlikely to be referred to as a ma'am. It's not so much that the word is offensive, it just makes me feel, at times, unnecessarily... well, old.

Which leads me to my next question; just when do girls become ma'ams anyhow? I mean, I think we all can agree we're not going to call little kids ma'am, but somehow if a 32 year old is innocently referred to as a ma'am, she suddenly understands all those warnings about becoming your mother were not in vain. This is not even acknowleding that timing is everything. So if you call the wrong woman the wrong word at the wrong time well then, watch out.

There are scenarios were a word like ma'am is used more freely than others. A restaurant is a good example. You might hear the words "And what can I get for you ma'am?" My friend sarcastically asked, me if I'd prefer to call me "little girl" instead. To me there is a happy medium. A miss is always nice. And if there's more than one, ladies will do just fine. Honey or hun is a whole other ball of wax. Suffice it to say, we won't go there now.

I don't think this goes away when you get older either, except maybe once you reach a certain age you are more accepting of being in the ma'am category. It's just those awkward in between years where you cringe upon hearing it. Like how when you first get your license you can't wait to be carded to prove how "old" you are. 10 years later you're just as excited to get carded, only the reasons have changed.

Since I figured all women felt like I did, or at the very least were indifferent on the issue, I didn't even think to actually ask other women. But after having that conversation with my male friend, I realized some research was necessary. I already asked a few people and they saw where I was coming from, and even made some interesting points of their own. But here's where you come in.

So, ladies of the blogging community, what do you like to be referred to? Do you mind ma'am or do you kinda even like it? And gentleman, you are not left out of this either. When you hear sir, do you look around for your father?

Perhaps either group simply prefers a good ol' fashioned "HEY! YOU!"

Whatever your poison, let me know.
Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Tell It To Me Tuesday: "How Rude!"

There are many rude people in this world. Of course you and I are not those people, but somehow, somewhere, they exist.Those bastards.

So tell me, what do people do that really gets to you?
Monday, August 08, 2005

All This and Meatballs, Too?

This past weekend I took my first ever journey to an IKEA. There aren't that many IKEA's in America (28 according to their website), so chances are you haven't been to an IKEA yet, ever either. As for the rest of you, I can't really speak for other countries. If you do have the chance to visit IKEA though, I would highly recommend it.

But first I'm going to admit something about my own stupidity before I go any further. Are you ready? I had no idea IKEA was a Swedish company. I mean now that I think about it, it makes sense, I guess I just never thought about it before.

Up until now there were very few things I could say with certainty that were "Made In Sweden". The pop group Abba is one. Ace of Base is another. Swedish fish are tasty, but the Swedish Chef is perhaps my favorite Swedish staple. Everyone knows Germans love David Hasselhoff, but that's not important now. No, after that short list, I've got nothing.

So imagine my surprise when I walked in to an IKEA and was bombarded with Swedish references. Remember how I wanted to learn Spanish? Well little did I know how much of a foreign language I could pick up when looking for a simple ottoman. See at IKEA, everything is labeled with its English name, but right next to it is is also its Swedish name. So if I ever go to Sweden and want to converse about lodging or home improvement, I think I could hold my own, with a nifty little IKEA cheat sheet that is.

On top of all the great international relations, IKEA also had some kick ass prices. We looked at everything from dressers, to bed frames to area rugs. All of it was in a word, CHEAP. Now since this was my first time at an IKEA I can't speak for their everyday prices. But then again, I don't think there was some huge quasi sale going on. You know, the ones where furniture stores pretend they are going out of business and EVERYTHING. MUST. GO.? Yeah, there was none of that IKEA. Just some fine, fine wood and ceramic, made by the lovely Swedes.

This particular IKEA also had a lovely presentation. The store was two floors. The first floor had all of the merchandise to buy, the second floor had all the merchandise on display. So the idea was you'd go upstairs, check out their Trading Spaces like demo and decide you just have to have that. Its ingenious marketing really. Once you've found the item you want you simply go back down to the first floor and find it in the corresponding aisle. It's all that easy.

But I haven't even told you the best, albeit, most unusual part of the IKEA experience. IKEA has food. Not just food, IKEA has an actual restaurant in their store. So you find yourself looking at kitchen sinks and suddenly feel a craving for ice cream? No problem. IKEA's got it covered. Seeing is believing and trust me, this alone is worth the trip.

Now I know what you're thinking. You're thinking what's the big deal? My local Target has a little place where I can pick up fries or a pretzel. You're right. Most stores nowadays do. But how many independent stores offer you the chance to purchase a sectional sofa AND a salmon dinner in the same establishment? Not many my friends, not many. Oh and the average cost for a full fledged, fancy sounding meal? $5.00. The fact that you were at a place that offered such goodies to begin with? Priceless.

In conclusion, if I haven't convinced you to visit an IKEA sometime in this lifetime then I don't know what will. All I know is when and if I ever get married one day, I'm totally kicking the registry with IKEA. Sure most of my friends probably don't live within a 50 mile radius of one, but there's always online shopping, and of course, the all purpose gift card.

If not, maybe, just maybe, the promise of delicious meatballs while you shop will help seal the deal.
Friday, August 05, 2005

Fight For Your Right To Party

28 is a hard age to be. I can't say if it's a harder age than 40 cause well, I've never been 40. But I can say with certainty that it is a harder age than say 5. I can say this because for most people, 5 is a great age. You are in kindergarten. Everything is fun. The only bad part is you don't know it...yet. You won't know it until you reach, well 28. Life sucks that way.

For me 28, is a hard age to be because you are stuck in that "I'm Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman" phase Britney Spears so beautifully exposed a few years back. I realize not all 28 year olds feel this way. However, this particular 28 year old does. I still look like a little kid, although the older I get the more I realize this isn't such a bad thing. I like it when people refer to me as a girl and I hate it when people refer to me as maam. Ugh.

But there are many rites of passage that come with becoming an adult. College graduation. Your first job. Getting engaged. Marrying. Owning a home...etc. The bestest thing about all of these milestones is that everytime you achieve one, you get to have another party to honor the occassion.

Most of my friends have had one or two if not more of these occassions. And I'm happy for them and their good fortune. Of course I also realize that their good fortune means it will ultimately cost me a fortune.

I mean I'm not going all "bah humbug" about it, but really. If you are a girl who hasn't had many of those milestones occur yet you start to get frustrated. It's the always the bridesmaid, never the bride scenario. Maybe guys feel this way too, I really don't know. It's also the reason why I think so many people decide to get married and have babies and all of that stuff. Because they know that in doing so, they also get to get gifts.

But why should you have to get engaged or have a child to be worthy of gift getting? Let me once again point you to the age of 5. When you're 5, you simply smile and voila! you get a gift. You sat in your chair today? Here's a Barbie. You finished all of your dinner? How about we go to the carnival? As a culture we are predisposed to associate gift getting with doing something right. So naturally once the gift getting stops, you start to equate it with doing something wrong.

This is why I'm proposing a revolution. I think more people should have "Why? Because We Like You" parties. These are parties for people who haven't had the opportunity to celebrate what is otherwise seen as an accepted social celebration.

There's no birthday. No new digs. No joining of two lives to speak of. It's just you, celebrating that you made it this far and that you are a relatively good person that your friends would like to celebrate over veggie dip and various alcoholic beverages. There's also far less opportunity for other people who haven't had those milestones to come to parties such as these. They know that in doing so, they won't feel unnecessarily inadequate about their lack of milestones. Plus the fact they can also turn around and do the very same thing next weekend.

This probably sounds like an extremely selfish proposition, but I actually think if it were widely accepted, it would be seen as the exact opposite. Helen Slater in The Legend of Billie Jean once said, "Fair is Fair!" And really, that's all I'm saying.

What are you waiting for? Stand up and say it's my party! Let's make it Judy's turn to bring the wine coolers and fondue set.
Thursday, August 04, 2005

Movin' On Up...

By now, most of you know about desire to move to a dotcom. Unfortunately, some of you know all too well.

Thanks to the help of MANY of you I have finally made the leap to dotcom territory. In the end, the wonderful Cassiopeia helped me make the transition as painless as humanly possible (only after enduring so much pain, unfortunately).

For now, at least, my home sweet home will remain on Blogger. Perhaps one day I'll brave the headaches that come with going even further. Until then, only the url is changing...

Please update your bookmarks/blogrolls accordingly to
Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Wait Training

In order to break up the summer I created a list of constructive things to do which I've been pretty faithful to...well with the exception of the teaching related manuals I've procrastinated about picking up thus far. One of the things on my list was to learn more Spanish. I bought a book months ago called Spanish For Educators, but all it really does so far is take up space and collect dust.

So instead I decided to take a more active approach by signing up for a non credit, Spanish language class at the local community college. It was called Spanish For Educators. The class would teach you valuable Spanish phrases for communicating with the students' parents, including such classics as "Your child is failing". or "Your child does not do their homework". I figured this would be a great way to learn something new and to possibly meet new people, teachers like me. All pluses, right?


Class was due to start this past Tuesday. Last Friday I got a call that the class was cancelled due to low enrollment. How much you wanna bet the enrollment was one? I had a sinking suspicion that this might happen though. I believe I signed up for something else years ago, only to have it get cancelled. Apparently I'm the only dork in a 25 mile radius who looks forward to taking non credit classes just for the joy of learning.

Once again I must turn to my trusty book in order to acquire the skills I need. Instead I decided I should probably take the refund I would be getting from that class and apply it to something new. So, begrudingly, I decided to look into signing up with a local gym.

Don't get me wrong. I know lots of people go to gyms. And for most, I'm sure they are great places. But gyms have always scared me. They also make me incredibly weary. I mean I work out in my home FOR FREE. What do I really need a gym for? Despite the slogans, there are a million reasons not to join actually.

For one thing, there's the time factor. If you want to get the most out of your gym workout, you gotta block off at least an hour of time. Then you have to add in the time it takes you to commute to and from the gym. Oh and of course shower time, no matter where you do it cause if you don't do it at all, well then, that's just disgusting.

Then there's what I like to call the possible humilation factor. Yes I work out, but I work out in the comforts of my own home, far away from the sculpted bodies and judging eyes of my more fit peers. I mean I'm pretty content with my body overall, I just want to be more toned, as I've stated before. But I really can't wanna musclehead or perky cheerleader type coaching me on the ways of toning up for an extra fee on top of the one I'm already paying. It's kind've like a sick form of exeroxia. No matter how fit someone like me ever gets, my inner "gym class, last to be picked for teams" child will always feel a bit like the outsider looking in.

Then we have what just might be my favorite reason not to join, the cost. Debbie Allen once said there was a price you'd pay, but you'd pay it in sweat. Ms. Allen, however, didn't add in the hefty fee they charge just for the privilege to sweat in places like these.

To prove myself wrong (or right as the case may be) I decided to call the local gym and inquire about membership fees. I had gone to the website and got overwhelmingly vague descriptions of packages offered, so I pretty much knew what I was in for by calling, but I did it anyway. Immediately they asked my name and transferred me to the perkiest sounding sales rep ever named Tara. Stereotypes on overdrive, I proceeded to ask Tara about how much it cost to join. Tara proceeded to instead give me a whole lot of double talk.

After question number one, my first name, I found myself entering a downward spiral slope of lying and/or being extremely vague. I figured it was ok though because I was giving them a taste of their own medicine.

"Where do you live?" In the area.
"What do you do?" I work in an office and I'm calling different gyms rather than having to drive to each one to inquire about their services.
"Can you come in for a tour?"
Sure I can. Can you tell me more about what I'd be touring exactly?

Needless to say with each question came another brick wall.

Now some of you might wonder why I insisted on being so difficult. The reason, other than the ability to write a semi-witty blog entry about it, are simple. MY ANSWERS SHOULDN'T MATTER AND IN REALITY, THEY DON'T.

For example, I obviously live in the area or else I wouldn't be calling YOUR gym. If I lived in say, Fort Worth, Texas, I'd call a gym there. Then there's the "what I do for a living" question. Give me an answer that would change THEIR answer in this scenario. A carnival ride operator is the only one I can come up with since their time at home is probably extremely limited. Or what if I had said I was a police offer. Would they say "All well, I see. We might as well end the application here as police officers are the one profession we do not accept".

The bottom line is of course I CAN come in, but I shouldn't HAVE to in order to weigh the pros and cons, no pun intended. Think about applying to colleges. Part of the process is getting an orientation and a tour of the campus, but you can still apply and even know how much tuition is before checking out their dorms and their meal plans. It's just common sense. There are certain cases where I realize this does not work. Buying a house for instance, you might not want to do over the phone, nor should you. Neither does it make sense to order a car over the internet, yet people do it everyday. Heck, nearly everything can be done from the comforts of your home these days. With the possible exception, I now know, of joining a gym.

When I asked why they couldn't give me raw numbers over the phone Tara insisted it was because there were simply "so many plans and options to choose from". Call me crazy, but I don't like entering high peer pressure situations. If I at least knew the numbers before going to a gym I wouldn't have to waste their time and they wouldn't have to waste mine. We'd both have a rough idea where we stand. If instead you told me the options and they seemed doable then I'd come in and give you all the time in the world to show me just how many speeds the treadmill has. But until then, I reserve the right to not get physical in your establishment.

Fueled by the fire of my conversation with Tara, I proceeded to call other gyms in the area to see if I'd get the same problem. And with minor variations, I did. It's amazing actually. I even have a gym a few towns over who asked for my name and number "just in case we got disconnected". Then he said "A sales rep will call you back in a few minutes". I said, "I thought I was holding?". He said, "Well all of our reps are busy at the moment". Right.

Regardless, their attempts to contact "Jen Brown" at a number where I'm sure a "Jen Brown" does not reside will all be in vain.

So let's review what we learned. Gyms might have many good reasons for you to join them, but they're not telling them, at least not unless you know the secret handshake or special code. I guess that's why they call themselves "clubs" in the first place.

I don't, comprende. In full circle fashion, this makes more than one language I still can't speak.
Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Tell It To Me Tuesday: "As In I Wonder What Happened To The Oh-Needers"

I once had a friend who said her career goal was to be lucky enough to have a one hit wonder. I used to laugh at this, but that's before I seriously thought about it.

Think about it. One hit. That's all you really need. Play your cards right and you can live off that puppy for the rest of your life.

My question is this. Let's say you could claim any one hit wonder as your own. What one hit wonder do you love and wish you could take credit for?
Monday, August 01, 2005

Discriminating Taste Not Included

If video killed the radio star, then Tivo must have killed the VCR.

As most of you already know, a few months ago I purchased a Tivo. For someone as addicted to everything pop culture as I am, it was a long overdue purchase. The Tivo is great, but unlike most people, my Tivo has not replaced my VCR. Choosing between my Tivo and my VCR is like asking me to choose between my children, I love them both the same. Well maybe not exactly the same, but I tell them that anyway.

Some of you might be wondering why it is necessary to use the downright prehistoric VCR after purchasing a Tivo. The answer to this my friends, is simple. 1. My Tivo cannot, for some reason, record pay cable channels over a certain number and 2. Sometimes I actually want to record more than one thing at the same time, which Tivo, no matter how magnificient, is not equipped to handle...yet. I suppose most folks aren't as fanatic about crappy television as I am.

So instead they are like Ebony & Ivory, working together in harmony. It requires a little bit of orchestration on my part, but for the most part it is worth it. However I do know that the whole purpose of having a Tivo is to avoid the headache of remembering when and where your favorite show is going to be on. All you have to do is put in your show (and or fave actor) and voila! Tivo finds and records what you want without you doing anything else. Sit Ubu sit. Good dog.

All this is fine and well, except I quickly realized I must be a high maintenance Tivoer. For instance, I take for granted that this machine is smart enough to do things sometimes it just isn't equipped to do. Sometimes I will schedule a season pass (meaning it records all the shows, new and/or old for a given program). Then I will go to schedule another show, and if the two overlap, Tivo gives me options. This is when a little creative maneuvering comes in to play.

But I realized the hard way that once the season passes are programmed and you forget about them, sometimes it makes the decision to record one show for you and not the other all on its own. How dare Tivo think it can make my decisions for me! In this respect, I have actually lost out on a few programs because I thought Tivo was "handling it". I suppose this is a stupid move, not unlike giving too much responsibility to a teenager. Sometimes, they just aren't ready for it yet.

So now I know that in order to use my Tivo effectively, I have to monitor my recording options closely. I also try to make sure it doesn't record the same episode of anything twice, but that's often easier said than done. For instance, I had a season pass for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart but it started recording an insane amount of episodes, most of them which were duplicates. I tried to avoid this, but I think the problem is that Comedy Central offers incomplete descriptions of the eps and Tivo don't know what you don't tell it.

The other funny feature that Tivo posseses are "Tivo's Suggestions". These suggestions can be turned off or on, but I left them on just for the hell of it. The premise is simple. Once you start to get into a groove with what you record, Tivo gets a feel for what you like. In a way this is comforting, in a way creepy. It's like Tivo is Big Brother, "always watching". Big Brother is also, incidentally a show on my Tivo, but that's neither here nor there.

However I now know that Tivo's suggestions should really be called "Shots In The Dark". I mean come on. I've had my Tivo long enough now that it should know anything with a title full of words in another language is simply something I'm not going to watch. I also noticed it likes to zero in on certain types of shows, because it can.

Oh you once recorded a show that involves animals? This must mean you like animals. Well let me, in turn, record EVERY SHOW EVER THAT HAS AN ANIMAL IN IT.

This is not unlike going to your grandmother's house on Christmas, mentioning you like ham once and getting a ham EVERY. SINGLE. CHRISTMAS. AFTER. THE. FACT. FOR. THE. NEXT. TEN. YEARS. I would know since this also happened to me.

In conclusion, the Tivo is a great little tool if you are a nerd with too much time on their hands like yours truly. But a piece of advice. Don't abandon that VCR just yet. Life is full of missed opportunities. Why make any of them of the VHS variety?



Blog Roll [−]

Blogging Chicks [−]

Blogger Chicks [−]

Blog Linker [−]

Futon Critic
80's TV Themes
The Onion
Television Without Pity
Modern Humorist
Best Week Ever Blog
American Idol


Who Links Here

Listed on Blogwise
Join BloggerChicks
Blog Flux Directory
ESL and EFL Blogs
Best news blogs

Nubbit Blog Directory

Bloggy Award

TFS 100 TopBlogs

Top Blogs Personal Personal Blogs Personal Blogs Top